CATCHING up with Paula Bennett when she stopped off in Masterton renewed my resolve to keep looking forward for what is better.
As a single-mum myself who struggled many years on a benefit, this MP has always inspired me to reach for the stars.
Many people can't see past the initiatives and changes she implemented to help people dependent or stuck in a cycle of benefit dependency to find a way out of of their situation.
But despite what many think, the benefit is not a career option. Bennett knows that only too well. It's not easy to break away from a guaranteed income into the scary world of self-dependency; especially when the benefit payments are more than many wages.
However, it's not government's job to pull people out of that mire.
My first priority was always motherhood, a decision made when there were two of us.
Finding myself single with three little ones dependent on me alone, the benefit was about survival.
But as my youngest headed to high school, it was time to think about the future so off to polytech and a Maori-focused journalism school I went.
A decision on re-education Bennett also made. Student loans piling up and having to be repaid once employment was found.
Yes, we both probably had the luxury of a $3500 study grant that could be used for some of the fees but it cost a heck of a lot more than that to slot into a diploma or degree course.
Should we hold that against her; for wanting something better for her family though? Many secured that benefit. Does that make it right and a must to be there forever? I think not.
Don't shoot her for wanting the best for everyone.
Unless people are elderly or infirm, then the aim must always be to be a productive member of our community.
Maybe it's time we lanced this wound good and proper and ensured people capable of work were in fact supporting their community in some positive way and giving back a little.
You never know, it might be a foot in the door.